Garni residents Arusyak Ayvazyan and Stepan Gevorgyan, Kotayq Region, Armenia, together with EcoLur's team sent Kotayq Regional Head Romanos Petrosyan the substantiations proving the negative impact of Qaghtsrashen gravity irrigation system so as to stop the project. The letter addressed to Kotayq Regional Head says,
'Dear Mr. Regional Head,
We are submitting for your consideration the substantiations proving the negative impact of Qaghtsrashen gravity irrigation system so as to stop the project:
1. Qaghtsrashen gravity irrigation system is exerting a negative impact on 'Khosrov Forest' State Reserve, as the project takes water directly from the Azat River. The Azat River flows across the borderline of 'Khosrov Forest' State Reserve. Low-level water in the Azat River increases the risk of fires. The river ecosystem has already been disturbed: favorable conditions for tourism are deteriorating: we can observe dryness, elimination of vegetation, disturbance of local biodiversity, which is the preservation object of 'Khosrov Forest' State Reserve. Around 6-kilometer-long section of Azat riverbed starting from Hatsavan pumping station from where the water intake for Qaghtsrashen project will be carried out to Azat Reservoir get dry because of absence of water and this area of Azat Gorge is in the process of desertification.
2. Insufficient amount of water fills into Azat Reservoir as a result of Qaghtsrashen project, which irrigates in gravity around 7100 ha of land areas. Because of the lack of water in Azat reservoir getting its water supply from the Azat river, the state reforestation program in 51 ha of area in Erebuni forestry enterprise has already failed. Out of 51 ha, only 20.5 ha area has been reforested, which hasn't grown as a result of the absence of irrigation water and currently this area has been allocated for the construction of a new solid household landfill site in Nubarashen, Yerevan.
3. Qaghtsrashen project endangers the supply of irrigation water to Garni community. Garni community actually has around 2000 ha of area subject to irrigation, which used to be irrigated but now the majority of land areas is left undeveloped because of the absence of water.
4. The amended project of Qaghtsrashen gravity irrigation system is carried out with the violation of law. The amended project hasn't been submitted to RA Nature Protection Ministry for environmental impact assessment and the risks of the amended project haven't officially been appraised. The project doesn't meet its goals, as it presumes to use electricity instead of gravity.
Thus, the World Bank loan has been used not expediently with the violation of the Armenian legislation causing damage to Khosrov Reserve, Azat Gorge and the local population.
Respectable Regional Head,
We are looking forward to your interference for the sustainable development of Kotayq Region
Arusyak Ayvazyan, Garni community resident
Stepan Gevorgyan, Garni community resident
Inga Zarafyan, President of EcoLur Informational NGO
Victoria Burnazyan, Expert of EcoLur Informational NGO
Monica Yeritsyan, Journalist of EcoLur Informational NGO
17:30 July 31, 2018